16 February 2007

British doctors to Gaza

A Professor of Physiology, a senior urologist from the Royal Marsden, a consultant physician specialising in endocrinology, and an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon (myself) are retired but still filled with sufficient energy to do this. Wily old birds can be good at strategy, whereas in so many countries process dominates - what I call the headless chicken syndrome. A public health consultant and a young consultant paediatrician/neonatologist are not retired and they make up the six.


''It is recognised that the brutal occupation has limited the teaching of medicine and its allied subjects in Palestine.

Its people deserve the best standards of practice within a universal health service.

The Dove and Dolphin International Medical Centre has been conceived to help in these aims by inviting doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and all who enhance health, to come together so that they mutually increase their knowledge, skills and morale.

Thus all who participate will be committing themselves to the highest ideals of their professions and so serve all the people to the best of their abilities.''

Khamis Elessi MD David Halpin FRCS October 2006

Talks, special clinics and seminars will be held each morning. In the afternoon, we will visit the hospitals appropriate to the specialty of the morning. A Palestinian doctor will take the platform with the visitor. Senior nurses, physiotherapists etc will be encouraged to come, as will water engineers, public hygienists, UN food programme seniors on the two mornings when public health issues are discussed eg iron deficiency anaemia.

On the first morning, my friend Dr Khamis Elessi and myself will open The Dove and Dolphin International Medical Centre which we have been planning for two years. The aim is for it to be a focus for visiting teachers, and ongoing post- and under-graduate teaching. A lot more will be said later.

Three days will be spent in Al Quds meeting more doctors and others. We are hoping to meet up with some of the doctors from Physicians for Human Rights - Israel. And then we 'fly' home with a freedom absent for almost every Palestinian.